My husband doesn’t ‘babysit’

I cringe when someone congratulates me on getting my husband to babysit—as though he isn’t also their parent.

My husband doesn’t ‘babysit’

Hey there, husband.

I remember when I first met you, dancing so suavely to “Hot in Herre” by Nelly. We were in a 20-and-under club on “foam night”... we were so cool back then. You lured me in—in just a moment. The way you took my hand and rocked that red backwards Cardinals hat. I was in love.

Twelve years later, we have four babies together.

We have home purchases, parent-teacher conferences, businesses, miscarriages and so much adulting under our belts.

We are actually getting pretty good at this grown-up thing.

I like you even better than I did then, even though you had some pretty sweet subs in your Mazda and were in a band that played at coffee shops. (My parents probably miss hearing your bass from five miles away.) I like you better, because I’ve seen and known more of you now. I now know the part of you that has had to shoulder life, business and family. At times it’s taken everything in you, but you have done it, and we are (all) so very proud of you.

So I want you to know that I cringe when someone congratulates me on getting you to babysit—as though you aren’t also their parent. I cringe, not just for me, but also for you. Your investment into our kids is invaluable, and reducing it to something that a teen could do for some extra frappe money, well, that’s just wrong.

You carry the weight of family, just like I do. You look at our girls and boys while they sleep and pray that they will know how deeply they are loved, and that they will grow up to love others selflessly, just like I did. You pray that they would change the world for good, just like I do. You tuck them in at night and wake up with them to change beds and cuddle with them after a bad dream, just like I do.

You change diapers, you feed bottles. You pace the house with screaming infants, bargaining with God for 15 minutes of sleep.

You are the best at planning adventures and helping our kids try new things like dirt biking and jumping off the dock. You are way better with blood, urgent care, and sitting with them while they get shots than I am, and you make a mean chocolate chip pancake.

Your scrambled eggs are still just the worst, though, so maybe don’t make those anymore.

We are just two parents who relentlessly love our kids. We love them till it hurts. We love them in the way of changing sheets and cleaning up after the incompetent aim of two boys (who shall remain nameless). We love them in the way of midnight cuddles and long conversations about spiders and fairy princesses. We love them in the way of homework (although let’s be honest, you love them more in math than I do). We love them in a way that makes us CRAZY and makes us sane all at one time.

You are no babysitter.

You are one of a kind and you are not replaceable. You are their dad and I am grateful that we are (equal) partners.

Sometimes I get scared and I try and boss you around or tell you that I know best. I’m sorry, because the facts are that you love our kids every bit as much as I do. You value their lives and their destinies with just as much reverence—and just as much wisdom. You know how to feed them, protect them and help them make good choices. Maybe not in the same way that I would, but that’s okay.

You’re not an after-thought, a babysitter, or a part-time coach.

You’re their dad.

Sometimes there is so much work, laundry, and that one kid that only speaks in volume 100... that we don’t really see each other for two or three or seven days. And other times when we are in survival mode; like when we brought home a new baby or when work days turned into work nights... those times of not seeing each other, they are even longer, but when I do pause and take a breath, when I do stop....

I like you better than ever. Fatherhood looks very good on you.

Also, we could probably install subs in our SUV, just saying.

Thank you, husband. You are their father, you are their daddy and you are my friend, my very best friend.

Also, if you ever need me to babysit... jk, jk.



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A very important letter for new mamas

Listen, mom-guilt is a dirty liar. Yes, it's your job to fill your little human's needs, but you matter too. Don't forget to take care of yourself. Hang out with friends, take a drive blaring 90's hip hop or shower without interruptions—trust me, you'll be a better person (and mom) because of it.

Dear new mom,

You will shave again someday. Today is not that day.

Set expectations low, my friend, and set your partner's lower—at least where body hair and overall hygiene are concerned.

That conversation could go something like this: “From now on let's not consider shaving a “standard," but more like a gift that happens on birthdays and the first day of summer."

Voila, you are a gift-giving genius. You know what else is a gift? Shaving the inch and a half of skin that is between your skinny jeans and your boots. You're welcome world.

You will not be perfect at parenting.


I have yet to meet a perfect mother, but when I do, she's going to be a tiger who is insanely good at making up songs. (Daniel Tiger's mom, we salute you.)

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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